Photo Credit: Erin Schaff | The New York Times
In the face of criticisms for overturning the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts came in defense of the Court and said that the SC is only operating under its interpretation of the Constitution and that the masses should not question its goal because they disagree with its decision.
According to Roberts, it is a mistake for people to start questioning the credibility of the Supreme Court following its controversial overruling of the Roe decision that granted women the federal right to abortion. Critics should refrain from doing so because the SC only exercised its powers, although Roberts did not mention specific names or groups.
“If the Court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” said Roberts in an interview.
When the case was opened, Roberts said that they had difficulties dealing with the waves of people expressing their dissent towards the possible overturning of the decision. Roberts added that it was “gut-wrenching” for SC Justices to traverse the roads full of barricades and people every day. The pandemic and the strict lockdown protocols did not help them as well.
The barricades and protests started in May when a leaked draft opinion pointed to a junking of the right to abortion. Apart from protests in front of the Supreme Court Halls, people also gathered in front of the SC Justices’ houses so they could express their dissent.
The leak is a threat to the judicial process
Much of the trouble that the Justices had to face before even the final draft was released publicly was because of the leak. The Justices are intent on addressing the culprit of the act, saying that it is a major threat to future judicial proceedings of the High Court. Justice Neil Gorsuch said that it is paramount that officials identify the leaker as soon as possible.
“Improper efforts to influence judicial decision-making, from whatever side, from whomever, are a threat to the judicial decision-making process,” said Justice Gorsuch.
Excerpts from the leak are present in the final opinion released by Justice Samuel Alito that ultimately bans abortion after 15 weeks. The decision then triggered many states to impose abortion bans immediately.
Meanwhile, Justice Roberts did not join the other five justices to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, saying that there was no apparent need to overturn the aforementioned case rulings and instead take “a more measured course.”
The public loses faith in the Supreme Court
The judiciary enjoys independence. That much is true. However, following the leak of the draft until the release of the final opinion, a survey shows that the public is losing its confidence in the Supreme Court.
Roberts contends that the dissenting characters of the Justices are only exercised within the Halls of the Court. He added that the Justices even eat together after heated debates on certain issues. Roberts explained that the hostility goes only as far as the inside of the Court but not beyond since they respect each other.